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Back to the...ahem..Heart..of the matter.

Started by Sidhain, November 25, 2002, 08:54:46 PM

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I've been working on my Hearts and Souls superhero game on and off, last night one of my players said they didn't feel like playing because it was too hard. Now mind you, she didn't mean mechanically as my somewhat simulationist fantasy she enjoys is /much/ harder mechanically she stated simply that it took too much thinking!

Here is the Heart of that issue :)

Heres a Sample PC

Heroic Identity: Knight Owl
Real Name: Eric Bailey
Drive: Responsibility of Power

Might: Moderate
Deftness: High
Resilience: Moderate
Brains: High
Prowess: High
Resolve: High


  Sleepless-Knight Owl possesses the ability to go without sleep, completely and totally as half of his brain is always in rest state.  Due to this state of his brain he also has a limited danger sense warning him of people  in his immediate location. It does not indicate their actual intentions however just their proximity.  This works with Moderate! acuity.

 Gadgets-Knight Owl is armed with numerous devices which aid him in his ability to thwart crime the only two reliable and permanent ones are his Cape—designed to allow him to glide for some distance, and small throwing blades which act like boomerangs—his "Talons"

Knight Owls intellect and abundance of time allows him to be fairly prepared with others by making a Moderate Brains Test he may produce a gadget "just right" for the given situation from his various pouches/hidden pockets.
 Stress Trigger: Nightmares

Due to his constant sleep-state occasionally Knight Owl will slip into a temporary hallucination caused by vivid dreams that override the waking half of his brain. (occurs on emotional/psychological flavored/defined stress)

Description:  Knight Owl dresses in a gray and black costume that has bright yellow goggles in the cowl (UV/Flash/Image enhancement glasses) the cowl has peaks on either side which give him an owlish appearance

Resources: As Eric Bailey Knight Owl possesses a significant income from writing/testing videogames into the wee hours of the morning while not limitless he rarely struggles even considering the expenses of his dual life.

Knightowl, feels responsible for using his gifts, both intellect, and inability to sleep to aid others.

Now a Low Attribute rolls a d4 to succeede a Moderate d8 and a High D12, with an ! or * indicating power scales (that is ! Superhuman and * Cosmic respectivly)

When one /fails/ a die roll one can try again by literally coming up with a reason that fits their drive--in this case he feels responsible.

Woman is being attacked by Thugs and cries for help in the distance, hearing only something Knightowl is asked to make
Brains Roll to see what he can discern (knowing ooc that the roll is likely important he uses that knowledge as the game allows, since superheroes have authorial protection here) to reroll the failed roll.
"I must be aware of all evil that comes to light in my city, I must know when harm strikes, it is my responsibility" so he gets a reroll (this of course however causes stress, since he failed the first time--its the price of straining himself to limits, both concentration and will in this case)

This is where the player has issues--she has to think of reasons /why/ to reroll, so the my issue is this--should a good reason in drive give them a free reroll, and only the strain of trying hard accrue stress?

In this case they'd reroll, taking stress--but not need the "excuse" while if they had used the excuse no stress would be taken.

(In addition to this I'm adding a Humor and Heroism Section for Stress Release, a hero can use humor to buy off stress by telling jokes in character--thus Spiderman's stchick for example is ensured why he manages even when stressed out. On the other hand, rescuing the woman may be in this case a release for the hero, the "job well done" satisfaction easing his mind?)

What do you think feedback appreciated the rules as they stand for H&S are found here:

M. J. Young

Hi, Sidhain.

I don't know. I like the idea that the failure/reroll situation causes stress. Also, I think your proposed fix doesn't really achieve your objective. The problem seems to be that some players are good at figuring out "excuses" for a reroll and others are not. In the current version, those who are not good at it are penalized by being denied the reroll; in the fix, they are penalized by accumulating stress.

I'd take the difficulty out of finding an excuse. I can think of a couple ways to do this.
    [*]As part of character generation, have each player generate half a dozen excuses which are reasonably related to their character's overall motivations and fairly general in nature. For Nightowl, we might see a list such as:
    [list=1][*]My superior gifts make me responsible to assist others.
    [*]The experience of my nightmares warns me not to allow such horrors to become a reality.
    [*]The poor cannot afford to help themselves; my wealth obliges me to meet their needs.
    [*]Others must sleep; I do not need sleep, and so have the responsibility of greater vigilance.
    [*]I'm smart enough to know when something isn't right.[/list:u]
    This goes on the character sheet, and the player then can extrapolate from these or use them as written when the need arises.
    [*]The presentation of an excuse can be a group task, so that all the players are involved in finding a way to make the roll reasonable. If a roll is failed and the player sees a need to make it again, he (she, in this case) can say, "Help me out guys, I need a reason to re-roll." Some players will be better at this than others; having them cooperate in creating the excuses levels that aspect of the metagame.
    [*]The excuses can be used as color, but not required as verbalized. That is, the player can point to "My drive is the responsibility of power, which I think comes into play here to give me another roll," and the referee can then agree that there is an understanding of that which provides the roll. At that point, the player or the referee or anyone else can suggest a more specific excuse based on that connection, which would then be used in the narration.[/list:o]
    The idea is to prevent the difficulty of inventing an excuse from becoming a penalty on those not as facile at it.

    Does that make sense?

    --M. J. Young


    Yes actually it does make sense. I understand what your getting at. The idea is to allow them to reroll to succeed but not /ad infinitum/ rather the fact that they are pushing themselves to suceed and eventually you can push oneself to far.

    Hrms, I've added the change to the playtest drafts because I wanted to try it out, but its simple enough to take that back out..

    Jared A. Sorensen

    Quote from: SidhainYes actually it does make sense. I understand what your getting at. The idea is to allow them to reroll to succeed but not /ad infinitum/ rather the fact that they are pushing themselves to suceed and eventually you can push oneself to far.

    Knight Owl sounds cool. Batman + the Insomniac. :) Although as a game tester, where the hell is he gonna find time to fight crime? Especially when a project is nearing Gold? Hahaha...I kid because I love.

    "To the question, Robin!"

    I'd take a cue from Ron's Trollbabe game, which thoughtfully provides a checklist of set "re-roll" conditions. Ummm...good conditions for a superhero game might be a) environment (oh look, a flagpole I can use to slow my fall!), b) emotional state, c) personal code, d) relationship, e) gadget. You could even do something where the character gets to choose a number of re-roll conditions...Knight Owl could put extra points into "Gadget" re-rolls, for instance.

    - J
    jared a. sorensen /


    Well the rerolls aren't caused by "stuff" or "environment" but drive, /why the hero is a hero" however that doesn't mean there description can't include objects, gadgets, etc--For example in this case KnightOwl goes "My ordinary senses are not enough to fight the evil in my city, so I will expand them with this--the OwlEar(TM)! Listening Device, for I must guard the city because I am the only one blessed with these gifts and the silliness to name gadgets after myself. "